Avoid liability while achieving efficiencies

Minnesota cities often look for more effective and efficient ways to deliver services to citizens. A joint powers agreement can be one way for cities to achieve efficiencies.

The Joint Powers Act allows Minnesota cities the ability to offer a broad array of services cooperatively with nearby cities, townships, counties, tribes, school districts and others.
—Learn more about joint powers and other forms of cooperation from Chapter 16 of the Handbook for Minnesota Cities (pdf)

A written agreement is required for joint powers

A joint powers agreement must be a written agreement approved by the governing bodies cooperating under the agreement. A joint powers agreement can establish a separate joint powers entity that may act largely independently of its forming governmental units.

Ensure the joint powers entity has liability coverage

It is important to note that a joint powers entity is not a covered party on the city’s LMCIT liability coverage unless special arrangements have been made. Cities must ensure that any joint powers entity in which they participate has liability coverage. If not, the city can be left with a coverage gap if it is sued because of something the joint powers board did or if a personal injury or property damage arises from the activities of the joint powers entity.
—Learn more from the LMCIT Liability Coverage Guide (pdf)

Providing emergency assistance out of state?

If your city will be sending assistance to an emergency out of state, the city attorney should review the written agreement before assistance is deployed. In addition, LMCIT will review the agreements free of charge to make sure that there are appropriate liability provisions in the agreement.
—Learn more about providing emergency assistance out of state

Need additional information on joint powers?

Contact Chris Smith, LMCIT risk management attorney, at (651) 281-1269 or csmith@lmc.org , or contact LMCIT Underwriting at (651) 281-1200.